Christ Community Church

Pastors’ Blog

That They May Be Saved

At Christ Community Church, we desire people to be saved. We want the gospel to advance. We long for the glory of God’s grace in Jesus Christ to be praised. And while we rejoice in the truth of God’s sovereignty in this matter, we also readily embrace the responsibility given us by God to seek the salvation of the lost. To this ordained end of His, the local church is His appointed means, and God’s not left us without means for the task.

As for the message, we have the Gospel. As to communicating, we have mouths and ears (Exodus 4.11), or other means of communication. As to growth in communicating the message, we have the sanctifying testimony of Scripture. As for help and encouragement, we have the Holy Spirit. As for still more help and encouragement, we have each other, the local church. As for motivation, we know the stakes. As for endurance in the task, we know the call and comforts of the Great Commission. As for passion, we know the love of the cross. And as for infusing it all with the power of God, we have prayer—but do we pray?

A Godly Desire Overflowing

More specifically, are we regularly asking God to save the lost and redeem His people for the glory of Christ? We aren’t without examples in Scripture of this godly desire overflowing in palpitating petitions to God:

Granted, it’s somewhat of a ‘type’ of what was to come, but Moses successfully intercedes between God and Israel after the golden calf incident. Israel is spared the wrath of God because of Moses’ prayer (Exodus 32.11-14).

Similarly, we hear OT echoes of this sort of praying in the cries—so often found in the Psalms and Prophets—that the Lord would redeem His people (Psalm 25.22; Psalm 28.9; Psalm 80.19; Psalm 106.47; Psalm 150.6; Isaiah 12.3-4; Isaiah 64.1ff; Habakkuk 3.2; etc).

Jesus, of course, commissions His disciples to ‘pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest’ (Mt 9.38) and, if you remember, I argued in a recent sermon that that prayer was not only that the Lord would reinvigorate the labors of lazy Christians, but that He would save sinners. For what is a converted person but a commissioned one? To pray for more laborers is to pray for the salvation of the lost.

Jesus, Himself, weeps over Jerusalem as He approaches the city to be crucified, there (Lk 19.41-44). I don’t suppose His lamentation over their lack of faith was, in any way, disconnected from His prayerful longing that they would, in fact, believe and be saved.

Again, on the cross, Jesus prays for those (we all) who crucified Him, that His Father would forgive them of this most evil thing (Luke 23.34).

As you move into Acts, the early church was marked by evangelistic or missions-minded prayer (Acts 4.24-31; Acts 13.3).

The apostle Paul calls the church at Colossae to pray for him in speaking the gospel with clarity (Colossians 4.2-4). He asks the church at Ephesus to pray for him in speaking the gospel with boldness (Ephesians 6.19). He exhorts Timothy to shepherd the flock in praying for all people according to the knowledge that God desires all people to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Tim 2.1ff). Then, there is Romans 10.1, where his own passion for Israel’s salvation is made plain, “my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved.”

Two Effects of Evangelistic Praying

The edifying effects of such praying are many, but let me focus on two for a moment:

First, simply, prayer brings God to bear on any given situation. In this case, the advance of the gospel amongst the lost surrounding you. It was the Puritan, George Swinnock, who rightly said that prayer is God’s ordained engine by which we may wield omnipotence on the earth. Omnipotence is good and needful, no? We can plant. We can water. We cannot give the growth. This growth demands omnipotent grace, meaning only God can give it. To speak of His timing in the matter is another issue. At present, we’re to hope in God, believing that He could unleash Almighty mercy upon every soul that has ever heard the gospel at any moment . . . and save them! The exhale of that true belief and hope is evangelistic prayer.

Second, this sort of praying makes us evangelistically ‘aware.’ It works in us an awareness that we cannot save a single soul. As Charles Spurgeon once intimated, we can no sooner raise the dead than save a person by our own inherent abilities and powers. God must do it.

It works in us an awareness of what matters most in the world. I don’t know about you, but my praying can often get stuck in the muck of what’s temporally important. However important that thing may be, it’s not as important as the eternal salvation of a soul (Mark 8.35-37). Pray for the circumstances of the day as they present themselves to you, but be careful that these things don’t press out prayers for the regeneration of hearts, as well as God’s powerful disposal of you in bringing that divine work to pass.

It works in us an awareness of others. We are so inwardly bent. I mean, so, so self-focused—and if the Holy Spirit makes use of the Gospel of Christ for any sanctifying thing in us, it must be to break that bend, to hammer us Godward and, so, outward towards others. And missions-minded prayer is an expression of this. It turns us towards the very greatest need of those amongst whom we live and move and have our being. It makes us mindful of the very greatest void in the hearts and lives of those who hope and trust in any and everything but Christ. As we pray for others concerning this most significant thing, we become servants of others in the most significant way. We labor for their joy in Christ.

It works in us an awareness of our gospel-involvement in the lives of others. In other words, such praying has a way of keeping gospel proclamation on the front-burner. If we’re praying for the salvation of Luke or Leslie Lost Person, we’re going to more readily recognize, even make, opportunities to share the gospel with them. And, in turn, this will tend to lend itself to praying, not just for the lost, but for ourselves and our ability to share the saving message of Christ as clearly, faithfully, and boldly as possible. God uses it to massage the gospel into our hearts until our lives are consumed with making it known—until we become a Great Commission people through and through.

Evangelistic Praying in Practice

As we begin a new year, I’ve considered how I might make evangelistic prayer a greater emphasis in my own heart and life. What I’ve come up with, I humbly offer to you, my beloved, not as a law, but as some ‘trellis’ upon which to hang this ‘vine.’

Think of concentric circles. Christ is the center and, from Him, we’re pressing out from our homes until we’ve covered the world with prayers for the advance of the gospel. Here’s how it works for me:

1. First thing in the morning, I’m praying for my own home. Somewhat like Job (Job 1.5), I’m praying for my children and asking God to save them. I’m praying for my wife, that the Lord would captivate her heart with the gospel and use her, mainly amongst our children and neighbors, to give off the aroma of Christ that saves.

2. Around lunch, I’m praying for my neighbors—which I love in a place like Newton because they’re from all over the world! Prayer for the folks in my cul-de-sac is prayer that impacts the globe! So I’m praying for their conversion. I’m asking God to regenerate them. I’m asking God to make us mindful of ways to love them, reach out to them, show hospitality to them and, ultimately, share the gospel with them.

3. At dinner, I’m going to be aiming to pray for the residents of Newton and Greater Boston more generally. ‘Sovereign Lord, let Your Gospel advance, here! Save Your people, here! Equip and mobilize Christ Community Church, and other healthy local churches to find Your sheep by the Word of Christ!,’ etc.

4. Before bed, I’m wanting to pray for some part of the world where the gospel is not present. Half of the world is unreached or unengaged with the gospel, friends. That numbers billions. As a resource for this, and all the ways that you can be praying for such corners of our world, let me suggest the newest edition of Operation World.

In this way, the hope for myself and for us all is that we’re regularly praying for the global advance of the gospel. We’re wielding omnipotence on earth, all whilst we’re being transformed into a missions-minded people right here in Newton, MA. May the Lord soon and steadfastly supply us with all the help we need in sharing Christ with the lost ‘that they may be saved.’ Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

Plan to Read the Bible in 2017

Many of us struggle to consistently spend time in God’s Word because of a lack of planning. A Bible reading plan can provide the daily schedule to help you with this. The pastors of Christ Community Church have just completed a very doable two-year Bible reading plan, and we would invite you to join us as we start afresh tomorrow. Below is everything you need to begin the two-year plan with us:

Article explaining the plan

Two-Year Bible Reading Plan

You may decide that a different Bible reading plan will work better for you. If this is the case, you can explore other options here. Regardless of what you do, let’s resolve together to be in God’s Word every day in 2017.

Category Bible Reading

Comments Off on Plan to Read the Bible in 2017

Sunday E.Q.U.I.P.

Sunday “E.Q.U.I.P.” is an exercise meant to better equip us for corporate worship on Sunday evenings. We want to help you reflect on the sermon passages and familiarize yourself with the songs we’ll sing.

This week’s passage is Luke 8.22-56.

E—EYES to the passage. Read Luke 8.22-56. As you have time, try reading Psalm 107.23-32.

Q—QUESTIONS for reflection.

  1. In Luke 8.1, Jesus is proclaiming and advancing the gospel of the kingdom. In Luke 9.1, Jesus is going to send out His twelve disciples to do the same. How does Luke 8.4-56 bridge these two verses? What are they meant to do in preparing the disciples for following Christ as fishers of men?
  2. Relatedly, but more specifically, how does our passage, Luke 8.22-56, prepare the disciples for this? What does it add to what we heard last week in Luke 8.4-21?
  3. Jesus performs 4 stunning feats in Luke 8.22-56. What are they? And what do they mean to show us? Is there a common theme?
  4. Each of these 4 events have discipleship aspects unique to them? What’s the force of Luke 8.22-25? Of Luke 8.26-39? Of Luke 8.40-56 (which includes events 3 and 4)?
  5. You’re a disciple. You’ve just witnessed these amazing things. How do they impact and inform our thinking and our approach to advancing the gospel in the world? Let these verses simmer, here. How are these things meant to prepare the twelve for their commission, and us as we live out the Great Commission?

U—UNITY of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Ephesians 4.3; also 4.13). How can we take this passage and use it to love one another, so that we’re knit together in love? Reflect on the following: 1) reminding one another of the presence of Christ in our trials, Luke 8.22-25; 2) encouraging one another to hope in the sovereign authority and power of Christ when life and ministry become hard and trying; 3) pointing one another to the truth that Christ has won by His life, death, and resurrection, so that we are more than conquerors; 4) help each other to ‘ponder anew what the Almighty can do.’

I—IGNITE for Christ. What excellencies about Jesus ignite in us a greater love for Him that reaches out to all to make Him known? Consider 1) He’s the King of creation, Luke 8.22-25; 2) He’s the Sovereign Stronger One against the forces of the devil, Luke 8.26-39; 3) He’s the One Who dispenses new creation power, Luke 8.42-48; 4) He’s the Lord of life, Luke 8.40-42, 49-56; 5) this is the One Who lived and died and lives again for us.

P—PRAY that before we ‘go therefore and make disciples of all nations,’ we’ll always be mindful of what goes before it, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me.’ Pray that we’ll go in the courage of that reality, proclaiming the gospel in power, and that Christ will be pleased to exercise His authority through us for the making of many disciples in Newton and the surrounding areas.

Songs:

1) Come Ye Sinners Poor and Needy
2) There Is A Fountain
3) I Will Glory In My Redeemer
4) Behold Our God
5) Hallelujah What A Savior

Category E.Q.U.I.P.

Comments Off on Sunday E.Q.U.I.P.

Sunday E.Q.U.I.P.

Sunday “E.Q.U.I.P.” is an exercise meant to better equip us for corporate worship on Sunday evenings. We want to help you reflect on the sermon passages and familiarize yourself with the songs we’ll sing.

This week’s passage is Luke 8.1-21.

E—EYES to the passage. Read Luke 8.1-21. As you have time, try reading Psalm 1 or Isaiah 55.

Q—QUESTIONS for reflection.

  1. In Luke 8.1-3, we’re reminded of several things related to Jesus’ teaching ministry, especially. As you read these verses, what comes to mind? For instance, the existence of the disciples reminds us of the power of Christ’s Word. He calls. They follow. How does it relate to infirmities? Exorcism (Luke 4.1ff)? Joanna (probably an upper class citizen)?
  2. Most of the folks in Luke 8.1-3 are ‘ministers in training’ or supporters of Jesus’ ministry. Beginning in Luke 8.4, Jesus explains the nature of a ministry that’s centered on the proclamation of the Word of God. Is it ‘exciting,’ or sort of a ‘downer’? Would you sign up for what Jesus describes? Would you support it? Does what He teach make you hopeful in a sound ministry of the Word?
  3. In Luke 8.8, Jesus says ‘He who has ears to hear, let him hear,’ yet in the parable, each ‘hears.’ What does Jesus mean?
  4. Do we ever hear the Word of God neutrally or inconsequentially? See the purpose of Jesus’ parables in Luke 8.9-10. Relatedly, if hearing and being hardened is a just judgment of God against those who have heard but not ‘heard,’ how is it that we do hear? ‘To you it has been _______?’ The light of understanding and spiritual perception is grace!
  5. As for the parable: what truth is gleaned in Luke 8.11? What truth is gleaned from the fact that Jesus scatters in a way that might seem, oh, wasteful of good seed and time? Mainly, how do these various soils hit you? Just because (in my view) only one soil is ‘truly Christian,’ that doesn’t mean we don’t find ourselves responding to the Word those unprofitable ways described, here, particularly the 2nd and 3rd soils. Hence, what I think is the main word from Jesus in this passage, Luke 8.18, to His disciples: “Take care then how you hear.”
  6. What marks the good soil—a true and gracious hearing of the Word of God? Jesus says it 3 times in 3 different ways: Luke 8.15, Luke 8.16, and Luke 8.21. What’s the mark?
  7. How can we prepare ourselves to really hear the Word of God—to hear it and obey it? Think on this as we prepare to hear the Word on Sunday night.

U—UNITY of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Ephesians 4.3; also 4.13). How can we take this passage and use it to love one another, so that we’re knit together in love? Reflect on the following: 1) how the Word brings all sorts together around Christ, Luke 8.1-3; 2) how the ministry of the Word of God is worth our time, effort, prayers, and tears. Jesus majored in it, and healthy churches will also: ‘My sheep hear My voice, and they follow Me.’ 3) that we must encourage one another to hear the Word of God with ears to really hear—to have a culture of good, healthy listening to the Word preached—to support one another with patience in obeying God’s Word.

I—IGNITE for Christ. What excellencies about Jesus ignite in us a greater love for Him that reaches out to all to make Him known? Consider 1) the power and grace of His Word, Luke 8.1-3, 10; 2) His grace towards us that we have ears to hear, Luke 8.10, 15; 3) that He’s made us to bear His likeness, His light, His family resemblance, Luke 8.15, 16, 21; 4) that He works within us to preserve us even when our hearing is embattled, shallow, and distracted by many things, so that we do over time bear fruit for God.

P—PRAY that we will be a people who truly hear the Word of God, so that we bear the fruit of the gospel of kingdom: enduring obedience to the Word of God in this world!

Songs:

1) Praise To The Lord
2) Before The Throne Of God Above
3) You Alone Can Rescue
4) Speak O Lord
5) Immortal, Invisible God Only Wise

Category E.Q.U.I.P.

Comments Off on Sunday E.Q.U.I.P.

Sunday 8/28/16

Tomorrow we will seek to gain sexual wisdom from Proverbs.  We will focus in on chapter 5, but if you’re up for a bit more reading, you can look at chapters 5-7.  Below are also the songs for you as you prepare:

1) Jesus Son of God
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Yj_s9_45QpI

2) My Hope Is Built

3) Knowing You
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=pTTlSx6zXio

4) O Church, Arise
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=x63cVewXAeg

5) All I have Is Christ
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ugGucoYMmKg

Sunday E.Q.U.I.P.

Sunday “E.Q.U.I.P.” is an exercise meant to better equip us for corporate worship on Sunday evenings. We want to help you reflect on the sermon passages and familiarize yourself with the songs we’ll sing.

This week’s passage is Proverbs 3.5-6.

E—EYES to the passage. Read Proverbs 3.5-6. As you have time, try reading Psalm 16, especially verses 5-6, and Psalm 77, noting especially verse 19.

Q—QUESTIONS for reflection.

  1. There are two main ways that the Bible talks about the will of God. Read Ephesians 1.11, then 1 Thessalonians 4.3-5. What’s the difference?
  2. In his book Just Do Something, Kevin DeYoung talks about the will of God three ways—God’s will of decree (think Ephesians 1.11 above), God’s will of desire (or what He demands/commands us, think 1 Thessalonians 4.3-5 above) and, then, God’s will of direction. And he says that when we talk about ‘being in the center of God’s will,’ God’s will of direction is what we mean. We have decisions to make in life, and we want to know what God wants us to do—but there’s no chapter and verse about who to marry, and we can’t know if it’s God’s decreed will until it comes to pass. God simply calls us to make wise, prudent, sensible, biblically-enriched, God-centered decisions—and trust Him with what unfolds! A quote from his book that stuck out to me, ‘God does not have a specific plan for our lives that He means for us to decipher ahead of time.’ What do you think about what he says, there? Consider Proverbs 3.5-6; Proverbs 16.9; Proverbs 20.24.
  3. God invites us to make wise decisions, and so shape our lives for His glory (understanding that He’s always with us, caring for us, preserving us, and using [recycling] even our missteps for our eternal happiness). We need to get wisdom, Proverbs 4.7. How can we get and grow a wisdom that guides our decision-making? Think on Proverbs 16.20; Proverbs 16.3 and Proverbs 20.12; Proverbs 15.22, Proverbs 27.9 and Proverbs 27.19; Proverbs 17.24; Proverbs 3.5-6.
  4. Christ is our Wisdom. How does Jesus enter the decision-making equation? Think about God’s goal or sovereign direction for your life in Romans 8.28-29. Consider, then, also the goal of your decisions. How does this free us up to act on wisdom and make decisions, knowing that things aren’t always going to go as planned—maybe not even very well—maybe, in the eyes of the world, even fail?
  5. Of all the decisions that a human being makes in life, what is the most important? Take a moment to breathe in Mark 10.21-22.

U—UNITY of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Ephesians 4.3; also 4.13). How can we take this passage and use it to love one another, so that we’re knit together in love? Reflect on the following: 1) the call we have to be wise counselors for one another, Proverbs 28.10; 2) the call we have to be teachable and humble before our God, the sovereign Lord of all, and the call to receive the wisdom of others well, Proverbs 27.17; 3) the importance of urging one another on towards God-centered wisdom and a biblical worldview that shapes our decisions and, so, our lives, Proverbs 2.1-6, Proverbs 4.7; 4) the role we play in encouraging one another to make decisions, take some risks, trust the Lord, and enjoy the ride to glory.

I—IGNITE for Christ. What excellencies about Jesus ignite in us a greater love for Him that reaches out to all to make Him known? Consider 1) that the great goal of God in your life—in and through all things—is your conformity to Jesus Christ! 2) that embracing Him is the single greatest decision you have ever made, and that without regret—ever! 3) that because of His life, death, and resurrection, God promises to recycle our missteps, stumbles, and sins for our good and His glory.

P—PRAY that we will be a people enriched with godly wisdom, until walking humbly with our God in all things is the gospel-driven default of our hearts. Pray for our humility, our teachability, our thoughtfulness, our prayerfulness, our wisdom, and pray that many will come to know Him Who is our wisdom.

Songs:

1) Be Thou My Vision 
2) Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)
 3) Before The Throne Of God Above 
4) O Father You Are Sovereign (Just check we are thinking the same song*) *http://www.hymntime.com/tch/htm/o/f/a/ofayarso.htm
5) It Is Well With My Soul

Category E.Q.U.I.P.

Comments Off on Sunday E.Q.U.I.P.

Sunday E.Q.U.I.P.

Sunday “E.Q.U.I.P.” is an exercise meant to better equip us for corporate worship on Sunday evenings. We want to help you reflect on the sermon passages and familiarize yourself with the songs we’ll sing.

This week’s passage is Proverbs 30.1-9.

E—EYES to the passage. Read Proverbs 30.1-9. As you have time, try reading Psalm 73, Luke 12.13-34, or 2 Corinthians 8-9.

Q—QUESTIONS for reflection.

  1. What is the main takeaway from Proverbs 30.7-9? What—or rather Who—is the life-governing pursuit of Agur’s prayer?
  2. There are, at least, six ways that ‘wisdom’ shows itself in being ‘rich toward God.’ Consider Proverbs 22.2 (cf. Deuteronomy 8.11-20), Proverbs 3.9, Proverbs 11.24-26, Proverbs 15.16-17, Proverbs 23.4-5, Proverbs 27.23-27. Thoughts?
  3. The Christian wasn’t always a person inclined to sacrificial giving and Godward economics. How is it that human greed gets dammed up, while a flood of generosity is opened within our hearts? See 1 John 3.16-18; 2 Corinthians 8-9 (and especially 8.1-9, and 9.6-15).
  4. How might you speak to a wealthy non-Christian about his need for Christ? Conversely, how about a poorer non-Christian? Think on Proverbs 22.2, Proverbs 23.4-5, Psalm 49, Luke 12.13-21, and 1 Timothy 6.3-19.
  5. The gospel impacts our hearts, our lives, and all we have. How so? As you have time, consider 1 Timothy 6.6; Luke 12.32-34; Acts 4.32-37; Acts 16.19; Romans 15.26-29; 2 Corinthians 8.1-9; 2 Corinthians 9.6-15; Hebrews 10.32-34; Hebrews 11.10; Hebrews 11.26;  Hebrews 13.12-14.

U—UNITY of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Ephesians 4.3; also 4.13). How can we take this passage and use it to love one another, so that we’re knit together in love? Reflect on the following: 1) the need to keep the gospel of God’s generosity before one another’s hearts; 2) the call we share to make our money and possessions servant to God, His glory, our good, and the advance of the gospel; 3) the accountability we need to make ongoing strides in being weaned off this world, so that we’re becoming increasingly rich toward God.

I—IGNITE for Christ. What excellencies about Jesus ignite in us a greater love for Him that reaches out to all to make Him known? Consider 1) “the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He become poor, so that you by His poverty might become rich” (2 Corinthians 8.9).

P—PRAY that we will be a people aspiring to be rich toward God and, so, overflowing to others and to one another in rich, cheerful, sacrificial, Christ-centered generosity with all we’ve received from Him. Pray that our prizing of Him will turn the unbelieving heart away from the false hope of riches to the inexpressible gift of God in the gospel of Christ.

SONGS:

1) O Church Arise 
2) Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EYrTqBioaZ4
4) Speak O Lord 
5) My Heart Is Filled With Thankfulness https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p5yYgxdqTPI

Category E.Q.U.I.P.

Comments Off on Sunday E.Q.U.I.P.

Sunday E.Q.U.I.P.

Sunday “E.Q.U.I.P.” is an exercise meant to better equip us for corporate worship on Sunday evenings. We want to help you reflect on the sermon passages and familiarize yourself with the songs we’ll sing.

This week’s passage is Proverbs 1.1-7.

E—EYES to the passage. Read Proverbs 1.1-7. As you have time, try reading 1 Kings 3-4, and 1 Corinthians 1.18-31.

Q—QUESTIONS for reflection.

  1. As we see in Proverbs 1.1, the majority of the book (about godly wisdom) is written by Solomon. Why is that expected (see 1 Kings 3.9-12 and 1 Kings 4.29-34)? Why might that give some pause (see 1 Kings 11.1-13)? What are the lessons we should learn a) about Scripture (Proverbs 30.5; 2 Timothy 3.16) and b) about true wisdom (Proverbs 14.2a, for example, emphasis on “walks”)?
  2. In Proverbs 1.2-4, we see the purpose of Proverbs. What is it? And consider how needful this is for the Christian life, and for living uprightly amongst a largely unrighteous humanity.
  3. In Proverbs 1.5-6, this introduction to Proverbs issues an invitation. It’s a bit different than the purpose. It builds upon the purpose, and invites a pursuit. What is it? And is this pursuit a priority in our lives?
  4. In Proverbs 1.7, the key to knowledge and wisdom is given. What is it? And once you know what it is, what is that? How does it come about (see Jeremiah 32.40, and it’s larger context; then, Matthew 26.28)? What does that say about those who don’t have it (see Proverbs 1.7b)? How does this define wisdom, not just for us, but for the whole world? Indeed, how does it shape our understanding of the world, where the point of knowing anything as it should be known is conversion, and the context for knowing anything as it is is God (so even ants show a God-given wisdom meant for our edification, Proverbs 30.25)!?
  5. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.” Does that mean we’re to leave it behind in order to grow in knowledge and wisdom? Why or why not (see Proverbs 8.13a, for instance; are we ever to move on from hating evil)?

U—UNITY of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Ephesians 4.3; also 4.13). How can we take this passage and use it to love one another, so that we’re knit together in love? Reflect on the following: 1) we’re to help one another avoid Solomon’s unapplied wisdom—walk wisely!; 2) there is wisdom in God’s Word for us to know. Let’s know it together. Likewise, the Christian life is a lifelong pursuit of godly wisdom. Let’s run the race together; 3) the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. Let’s seek to help each other be mindful of God from moment to moment, to honor and glorify and love Him supremely. That is the way of wisdom; 4) let’s point one another to Jesus Christ Whom God has made to be our wisdom. The gospel is a treasury of wisdom for us.

I—IGNITE for Christ. What excellencies about Jesus ignite in us a greater love for Him that reaches out to all to make Him known? Consider 1) how Jesus is the greater Solomon, perfect wisdom walking; 2) how the purpose of Proverbs to know wisdom, is finally to know Christ; 3) how the invitation of Proverbs to grow in wisdom, is finally to grow in Christ; 4) how the fear of the Lord, where the right and saving knowledge of anything and everything begins and holds together, is set within us by the blood of Christ. His cross may be folly to Greeks, and a stumbling block to Jews, but to we who have believed, both Jew and Greek, truly, Christ and Him crucified is the power and wisdom of God!

P—PRAY that we will grow as a church in biblical, God-entranced, Christ-exalting wisdom. Pray also for your unbelieving friends, that they might come to fear the Lord.

Category E.Q.U.I.P.

Comments Off on Sunday E.Q.U.I.P.

Sunday E.Q.U.I.P.

Sunday “E.Q.U.I.P.” is an exercise meant to better equip us for corporate worship on Sunday evenings. We want to help you reflect on the sermon passages and familiarize yourself with the songs we’ll sing.

This week’s passage is Luke 7.36-50.

E—EYES to the passage. Read Luke 7.36-50. As you have time, try reading Psalm 103 and Romans 3.9-26.

Q—QUESTIONS for reflection.

  1. In Luke 7.36-50, many of the themes of Luke’s Gospel so far show up again? For example, assurance of salvation, Luke 1.4 and Luke 7.48-50. To really shore up on all we’ve heard in this Gospel, try to name a few more themes that are present. Consider Luke 5.20-21, Luke 5.27-32, Luke 6.21b, among other passages.
  2. In Luke 7.37, a woman interrupts the Pharisees dinner with Jesus. How is she described? What significance do these descriptions play in this passage? For instance, how does the Pharisee view her? How does Jesus view her? How might you view her? Closer to the Pharisee or Jesus? Clearly, the Pharisee is surprised at how Jesus receives her, her presence, and her actions. Why? And what does that teach us about the heart of God that we see in Christ?
  3. Jesus calls this woman’s actions in Luke 7.37-38 (again, in Luke 7.44-46) “great love” or thereabouts in Luke 7.47. What is the cause of this love (see Luke 7.42)? This is important because, otherwise, Luke 7.47a could easily come across as though she was forgiven because she loved. But Luke 7.42 sets the chain reaction straight. How so? And if this is so, what do we make of what Jesus says in Luke 7.47a? Consider Luke 7.50. Again, Jesus says something else saved her. What is it? And how might this also relate to her love for Christ and it’s connection to forgiveness? Hint: Saving faith always shows itself in love for the Savior! What does the presence of her love suggest, then, but the presence of . . . (7.50) and the prior gift of . . . (7.42)?
  4. Still, this sort of unrelenting and extravagant love for Christ is critical. The woman has it, and she’s forgiven, saved, at peace with God. Simon does not, and that means the opposite for him. Where does this love come from? How is it generated, increased? Look at Luke 7.47. What can be drawn from what Jesus says? As an aside, in Luke 7.47b, does Jesus mean that some love more or less because they’ve been forgiven more or less (so that holiness—less sin to be forgiven—actually hinders love), or does He mean that the one who doesn’t realize the greatness of their sin and, so, the great cost of forgiveness, will hardly love the One paying the price?
  5. In Luke 7.44-46, Jesus teaches the Pharisee about a ‘saved love’ by comparing him with the saved one, the sinful woman, and her great love. What are the points of comparison?—and don’t let yourself off the hook. How might you respond to presence of your Savior this hour? How is your love for Christ?
  6. In Luke 7.48-50, Jesus directs Himself to this woman and assures her of three things? What are they? How do they relate to Luke 1.4? What do they teach us about Jesus? Who is He?

U—UNITY of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Ephesians 4.3; also 4.13). How can we take this passage and use it to love one another, so that we’re knit together in love? Reflect on the following: 1) that we’re to impartially welcome sinners, as Christ, Luke 7.37-38; 2) that we’re to hold one another accountable for our love for Christ (Luke 7.42, Luke 7.44-47) and, remember, that demands attention to our personal love for Christ (Luke 6.39-42); 3) that we’re to encourage one another by these great gospel graces, like God’s initiating love (implied in Luke 7.42), the gift of faith (implied in the woman’s actions of love, and stated in Luke 7.50), love for Christ, forgiveness of sins (Luke 7.48), salvation from judgment (Luke 7.50), and peace with God (Luke 7.50); 4) that we’re to labor together for the assurance of these things, Luke 7.48-50.

I—IGNITE for Christ. What excellencies about Jesus ignite in us a greater love for Him that reaches out to all to make Him known? Consider 1) how Christ has welcomed you; 2) that Christ is God’s way for showing you saving mercy and grace; 3) that Christ truly sets us an example of ministering to the hearts of all, moral and immoral; 4) that Jesus is a prophet and more, He’s Christ our Savior; 5) that the debt of our sins, which we could never pay, has been fully paid by the life, death, and resurrection of Christ; 6) that He’s worthy of all our love and worship; 7) that through Him, we’ve received forgiveness, yes, but also then salvation and peace with God forevermore!

P—PRAY that we will have our hearts filled with unashamed love for Jesus, as we consider His grace, compassion, forgiveness, love, salvation, and peace. Pray that sinners, ‘of the city’ or ‘of the church’, the immoral and the moral, will repent and come to faith in Christ and, so, know His great salvation.

Category E.Q.U.I.P.

Comments Off on Sunday E.Q.U.I.P.